Jimmy Eat World

author TL date 07/02/08

Jimmy Eat World is a band that has been around for about fifteen years now, releasing six full length albums and being credited for bringing awareness of the emo term to the mainstream through their softer brand of the original emocore, and with so much history we thought it was a good idea to get a hold of the guys for a few questions when they hit Copenhagen on their European tour. Checking in at Vega in the afternoon before the band's show I was sat down with drummer Zach and bassist Rick and here's what came out of it:

RF.net: To kick things off, please just introduce your selves, your band and your music to anyone who doesn't know already.
Zach: My name is Zach and I play the drums for Jimmy Eat World

Rick: I'm Rick, I play the bass. We've been around for about 14 years..

Zach: Yeah since 1994 and we're from Arizona

RF.net: You're about six shows into your European tour. How's it going so far?
Zach: It's been going really well. We played a show in Belgium and then a handful in Germany and now we're here in Denmark and so far it's going really well and we've been really happy.

RF.net: Yeah so this is the first time you've been in Denmark apart from your show at Roskilde Festival in 2005. That festival is credited for having a distinct 'Orange Feeling'. Did you get to experience this during your stay?
Zach: It was a pretty cool festival but I think what we remember most from back then was getting to be on the same stage as Foo Fighters and Green Day, which is a pretty big honour because we respect those bands a lot.. And yeah it was a really cool festival that had a good vibe to it and we remember having a good time.

RF.net: You're touring in support of the new album "Chase This Light" and I'd like to know what's the story with that title? What 'Light' are we chasing here?
Rick: Hah.. Erhm, it's open to your own interpretation.

RF.net: Okay so if your name is shortened it spells out "J-E-W" and a lot of people think that's a bit weird or funny or whatever. Did you ever think about that or?
Zach: Yeah, no that's just totally coincidental. We definetely didn't plan it out that way. When we were coming up with our name I think it was a few practices into the band's history and we were just.. You know.. We didn't really put a whole lot of thought into it.

RF.net: A lot of people credit you for being the band that brought emo to the mainstream and these days there's a lot of discussion about what emo really is, so we'd like to ask you, considering that role of yours, what your thoughts on the term is?
Rick: I don't feel like we brought emo to the mainstream, I just think that for some reason we got handed that title.

Zach: Yeah I thought Fall Out Boy did that actually..

Rick: That's what I thought too!

Zack: Nah, for us.. I don't know.. We've kinda' just chosen not to interact with the notion of what emo is and who is emo..

Rick: .. Or any specific genre really, I mean we're a rock band and that's what we've done.

Zach: Yeah so it's kinda' not an issue. We never thought about it and we probably never will.

RF.net: You have six albums out by now and while I'm sure all the critics and fans have their opinion on how you've changed from album to album, I'd like to hear what you have to say about it from your own point of view.
Zach: I don't know.. Its like.. We never really chose to.. Erhm.. It's kinda' like, at the end of the day when we make our records we just take the songs that we have and we don't necessarily shoot for a certain sound or style. Overall we just take the best songs we have at a given time and then we make an album, so if that turns out to be darker material like on "Futures" or maybe more uplifting like "Chase This LIght" then it's that which determines what the overall sound of the album is going to be like and that determines where we go.

RF.net: How do you think your inspirations have changed over the years? Is it still the same bands that give you your ideas or are there something new on the plate now?
Rick: Yeah we still listen to all those bands we did back then, but obviously also to new bands too.. And I think we've always been influenced by everything, not just what music we listen to.

RF.net: I want to talk a little about the "Stay On My Side Tonight EP" because of the way it stood out, abandoning the more traditional songwriting to seemingly try out other approaches. What was your purpose for this EP?
Zach: The "Stay On My Side Tonight EP" was that we walked into the studio to record "Futures" and we went in having a bunch of songs that we felt were good but we just didn't really feel that we had an album. So we pulled the plug on the recording session and then we took a break and ended up writing what amounts to about half of what "Futures" is now. Those new songs kind of replaced the ones we'd already written but we still really liked those other songs we just felt like they weren't right for the record. So songs like "Disintegration" and "Over" and "Closer" specifically were from that first session of recording and we still really liked those so we wanted to kind of put them together and find a home for them on their own. So after the release of "Futures" we actually went back and revisited those songs and altered things here and there with a fresh perspective, and in the end we felt really good about it and put it out. So some of those songs are actually some of the very first songs we originally wrote for "Futures".

RF.net: Yeah, the reason I'm asking is that a lot of people are really happy about that EP, and want to know if there's going to be more stuff like that on the EP on future records?

Zach: Possibly..

Rick: Remains to be seen!

Zach: Yeah like I said, it's not like we plan stuff like that out, or how we're going to put together an album.

Rick: Some ideas will just have that kind of vein in them and if they do then we'll go with it, so yeah, it might come up again.

RF.net: Talking about making music today, what would you say are the most encouraging and discouraging things?
Rick: One of the most encouraging is when we come to a town and do a live show and the we get that first hand reaction when we do the show and perform the songs. That's just a huge encouragement, seeing the instant reaction. That's just.. huge.. positive.. good times!

Zach: I think for us, the most discouraging thing is the flipside of that, namely being on tour and away from home because we're all married and some of us have kids, so that's sort of the downside of it. Being away from home and from your family. Musically there's really nothing discouraging about it. We're just loving it.

RF.net: What do you guys listen to in your spare time right now?
Zach: I've been listening a lot to Band Of Horses and the new Fightstar album.

Rick: I don't really know, I'm just listening to a lot of old stuff right now. One of the crew guys was listening to some Rick Ross and now I'm also listening to that a little and also some other rap stuff.

RF.net: Oh my, will we be seeing rap on the next Jimmy Eat World record?

Zach: You never know!

Rick: Yeah probably not though

Zach: Well Tom's been begging to do a rap song!

RF.net: Do you know of any new and exciting bands that you'd like to recommend to our readers?
Zach: There's actually a cool band that we heard the other day from Arizona, called Dear And The Headlights. Oddly enough we're from the same town as they are and I think Jimmy had known who they are, but none of us knew them before, and found out about them recently and they're really cool.

RF.net: Alright, last thing that remains for me to ask you guys is what's going to happen for Jimmy Eat World in the future?
Rick: Pretty much 2008 is going to be all touring.. Maybe even into the spring time.. And then when we get back we have our studio at home so we're just going back in there I guess..

RF.net: So where are you headed on all these tours?

Rick: Everywhere! Right now we're going through Europe and after that we go home for a week, then Japan for a week, then home another week and then a month in the U.S. Then from there the books aren't solidly written yet, but we might come back to Europe for another tour and maybe some early festivals.

RF.net: Fair enough, thanks for your time guys!

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